"It’s a lot easier for CNN to play 20-second clips of Barack Obama’s former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, screaming “God damn America” or of Hillary Clinton avoiding sniper fire in Bosnia than to explain to the American people how the government could be dealing with the subprime-lending disaster more effectively. Moreover, in a decade in which TV news seems targeted more for entertainment than for anything else, the old networks have a ways to go before they can hold our attention as well as YouTube and DailyKos can.
But after Wednesday’s ABC debate, thousands upon thousands of disgusted viewers posted comments on abcnews.com. Many were disappointed that George Stephanopoulos, a former Bill Clinton staffer, was allowed to moderate. Others were incensed that ABC thought Obama’s lack of a flag pin was a legitimate question, or that other “tabloid” issues such as Obama’s association with Bill Ayers, his over-hyped comment about the bitterness of working-class voters, and Clinton’s fib about her Bosnia experience seemed to dominate the discourse. We have finally started to understand that the mainstream media feels the need to entertain more than to inform in order to compete with the “gotcha” mentality of the blogs. It has gotten out of hand, to the detriment of this campaign and our whole political system.